Two seasons in, 'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend' is still insanely bold
Posted June 21
With 31 episodes and 82 original songs under its belt, there are few subjects the CW's "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" has not addressed via song. And there aren't many subjects it wouldn't address either.
Whether it's a throwaway line about urinary incontinence after child birth in an ode to Disney tunes or a song that celebrates the power of female friendship with references to both "Sweet Valley High" and "1984," humor, femininity and unbashful honesty collide in the music of "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend."
"Someone once called us the most gynecologically aware show on TV," co-creator and star Rachel Bloom told CNN in a recent interview. "It's 'cause there's all of this stuff when you have a vagina that no one talks about, yet I've heard everything about balls. I know so many things about balls and how balls react to things and blue balls, and, 'Oh! You just kicked me in the balls!' We don't talk about vagina stuff as much, so we're kind of making up for lost time."
Of course, addressing issues that women encounter comes naturally when you have a cast that's at least 50% female and a writing staff that's predominantly female, said co-creator Aline Brosh McKenna.
"If you have women telling their stories, it's going to naturally ... reflect their own experience," she said.
Bloom admits that every song is "a labor of love," and it's hard to pick favorites.
But Bloom does have a few from Season 2.
One is from episode 4, in which character Greg (Santino Fontana) belts a farewell song called "It Was a S*** Show." The song doubled as a goodbye for actor Fontana.
"You want to make it sentimental but you don't want to make it treacle-y," Bloom said. "It was a real challenge to find the balance of that tone. The two hardest things in writing the songs are finding what's the comedic thesis statement, which is usually the chorus, and then the tone."
Then there was "(Tell Me I'm Okay) Patrick," a song Rebecca (Bloom) sings at the height of her wedding planning stress toward the end of the season.
The titular Patrick, played by guest star Seth Green, was a delivery man who saw Rebecca's slow decline as she struggled to put together a DIY wedding on her own in a mere two weeks.
Bloom pointed to the lyric, "Was I sick the day in school they taught you how to be a normal person?" as a revealing one.
"I don't know if those were things that Rebecca would explicitly say, but they're things that come out in this song because they're regurgitations of her subconscious," she said.
The best songs do that, Bloom said -- teach the audience something that they wouldn't otherwise know about a character.
"You get away with dark stuff by making it light," she added. "It's why animated shows I think can be darker because it's animation, so you can do jokes on animated shows you can't do on live action. Same thing with songs."
In many ways, Bloom sees the show's musical moments as "musical sketches" that can deliver "introspective moments of darkness," jokes and fun in a single breath.
It's this delicate balance that has earned the series -- and Bloom -- accolades. The "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" team is hoping for more success at the upcoming Emmy Awards.
The nomination period for the Emmys ends next week. True to her brand, Bloom released a tongue-in-cheek song called "I Don't Care About Award Shows" as part of the show's campaign.
Wearing it all on her sleeve has served Bloom well thus far.
"I really think that keeping things secret and keeping things bottled up is death," she said. "I think that the more you realize you're part of a community, the more you realize you're part of the human race, it takes the sting and it takes the edge off the shame of all these things we don't want to talk about."